Man accused of ripping company off thousands
A NOOSA business owner is contesting fraud charges following allegations he ripped off a Hervey Bay company thousands by forging a fake invoice document and selling it shipping containers he never owned.
Businessman Dimitrios Pagonidis is accused of dishonestly gaining bank credits from a person through his commercial spray booth business, DNA Spray Booths and DNA Panel Shop Equipment, run from Noosaville.
The trial began at the Maroochydore District Court on Monday. Pagonidis pleaded not guilty to three counts of fraud and one count each of forgery and uttering a document.
The alleged victim, founder of Hervey Bay businesses Bozmac Pty Ltd and BNT Commercial Vehicle Repairs, Brett McCann gave evidence in court on Monday.
Crown prosecutor Alex Stark said it was a "business deal gone wrong" involving Mr McCann, shipping agent Herocean Australia Pty Ltd and freight service provider Finigate Integrated Logistics Australia.
He described to the jury how all three companies fell victim in some way to Pagonidis.
The jury was told Mr McCann sought Pagonidis' services for the delivery of two truck spray booths, one to be imported in parts from China, the other to be delivered to his Hervey Bay business site from Victoria.
The deliveries would come at different times in three separate shipping containers, owned by Herocean and freighted to a truck pick-up location by Finigate. Mr Stark told the jury the five charges Pagonidis faced came in two separate counts.
The court heard count one involved Mr McCann asking Pagonidis to organise the outright purchase of the three shipping containers rather than renting them out through Herocean.
However, Mr Stark claimed Pagonidis never contacted Herocean about the purchase and kept the money from Mr McCann. Mr McCann thought the purchase had gone through, Mr Stark said.
When the rent period of the shipping containers was up, Herocean contacted Pagonidis in a reminder to return the containers.
Pagonidis allegedly told Herocean that Mr McCann had stolen the containers; police were notified, prompting the investigation. Mr Stark said count two involved the freight of the shipping containers.
Pagonidis received the invoice from Finigate for just over $11,820 for the shipping service it provided. Mr Stark claimed Pagonidis then forged a fake invoice and quoted more than double the amount over $24,091 for the service. Mr McCann allegedly paid the amount to Finigate and later the same day Pagonidis contacted Finigate and told them Mr McCann had "mixed up" the payments.
Mr Stark claimed Pagonidis said the difference between the amounts was for the services Pagonidis provided.
He asked Finigate to transfer the gap, a sum of about $12,271.
Mr Stark said the company did this in "good faith" to Pagonidis.
The full amount that Pagonidis allegedly defrauded has not been made clear to the jury, with several conversations between Pagonidis and Mr McCann over text, email and phone calls recorded across 70 documents.
Several exhibits were handed to the jurors to read.
The trial will continue today.